Lebanese artisans race to preserve heritage rather than mass production

STORY: Location: Bchetfine, Lebanon

These Lebanese artisans fight to preserve their heritage

amid cheaper mass production and economic crisis

Hana Fayad’s family has been weaving on a loom for three generations

but she fears the age-old craft will die with her

[Hana Fayad, Lebanese loom weaver]

“Before, they (craftsmen) relied on these crafts, like pottery and others. Now they are becoming obsolete because new generations don’t learn them, so of course there is no continuity. When a craftsman dies, if there is no one to take it after them, the craft dies.”

The economic crisis here has thrown many people below the poverty line

Few can still afford Fayad’s colorful and richly adorned abayas

which can take up to four weeks

Many artisans have been forced to abandon their crafts for better paying jobs

Location: Beit Chabeb, Lebanon

This village is home to the only bell foundry in Lebanon

Naffah Youssef Naffah plans to pass on his ancestral work to his young children

The craft requires heavy lifting and hours near metal smelting furnaces

[Naffah Youssef Naffah, Lebanese bell-maker]

“Lebanese artisans all over the country must get back to the work of their hands, they must develop their industries and their crafts, and strive to develop and work them, because it is a treasure, whether with bells, with pottery, with cotton, with glass, or any other craft, the craftsman’s interest is in his home.”

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